Keller: Leo Dillon, Dead at 79

Leo Dillon

By Ken Keller: As Steven H Silver reported:

 Born in 1933, he died on May 26, 2012. Dillon was an artist who collaborated throughout his career with his wife, Diane Dillon, and they shared a Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist in 1970, among many others.

I had the privilege of working with the artist team of Leo Dillon and his wife Diane back in the mid-’80s. This was in producing a pair of fine limited edition art prints of their beautiful hardcover dust jacket paintings for Joan Vinge’s Hugo-winning novel The Snow Queen and Harlan Ellison’s short fiction collection Deathbird Stories. These prints were signed and limited to just 300 for each painting; they were published by my company Ground Zero Graphics, so named after the Dillon’s fine establishment, Ground Zero, their one-time Brooklyn coffee house.

In fact Leo and Diane were, for a period in the ’60s and ’70s, strongly associated with Harlan by their cover art on most of his books; they produced many beautiful, distinctive covers for his and other writer’s books in this same period.

In addition to their Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award (for Life Achievement), the Dillon’s were multiple winners of the prestigious Caldecott Award and a huge number of other important awards for their original, unique art. They worked in every medium and style you can imagine, always as an artist team, their finished artwork a perfect, seamless blend of their different styles and singular talents.

My own association with them in the mid-’80s was friendly and very cordial; we enjoyed swapping fond tales about our mutual friend Harlan Ellison and discussing the details of their lives in and out of the fantasy and science fiction genre.

I’m so sorry Leo has been forced by lung cancer to break his long marriage and artistic partnership of more than a half-century to Diane. What a loss for her, for their family, and to the world of art.

The beautiful work they created together, as a distinctive artistic team, continues to live on in hundreds of fine books and art prints published, fondly held and remembered by many thousands of their admirers.

Myself included.

Cover, "The Snow Queen"

Cover, "Deathbird Stories"

Leo Dillon Passes Away

Leo and Diane Dillon. Photo by Andrew Porter.

Renowned artist Leo Dillon died May 26, reportedly suffering from a tumor on a collapsed lung. Dillon was 79. He is survived by his wife and collaborator, Diane.

Leo and Diane Dillon painted innumerable covers for sf and fantasy books, drew and even occasionally wrote children’s books.

They won the Best Professional Artist Hugo in 1971 and their work was celebrated in a memorable exhibit at L.A.Con I (1972). 

Among many tributes paid to them during their careers, the Dillons received two Caldecott Medals (1976, 1977), were named to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame (1997) and were recognized with a World Fantasy life achievement award (2008).

The Dillons proudly identified themselves as illustrators, and Leo told a Scholastic interviewer, “We love illustrating and I suppose we can say we love everything about it. It’s very difficult; it causes us immense pain (sometimes), but like all things that cause pain if it’s worth doing, the outcome will be very pleasurable.”

Within the science fiction field the Dillons were made famous by their Ace Book covers and their work with Harlan Ellison.

They first met Ellison in 1959 while he was editing Rogue. Their illustrations for Ellison’s Dangerous Visions (1967) led to a meeting with Terry Carr, editor of the Ace Specials, who recruited them as cover artists.

Leo revealed in an interview for Locus how the two artists’ relationship with Ellison was as much adventure as creative collaboration:

Leo: …Harlan Ellison edited Dangerous Visions – and I don’t know if too many people know about this, but there were not supposed to be illustrations in that book. Harlan, with the power of only Harlan, said ‘I want illustrations.’ And the publisher said, ‘Okay, if you can do it over the weekend, you can have it. We’re going to press on Monday, and if you don’t have any drawings, that’s it.’ They thought they had him. [laughs]. So Harlan called us and said, ‘There’s this impossible task. I want each story illustrated. We’ve only got two days to do it.’ That’s Harlan. We had gone down some very odd roads with him already. [laughs] So we said, ‘Well, yeah, we can try. Come on over.”’

So Ellison came over — bringing Terry and Carol Carr with him, and that introduction led to their work with Ace Books.

The Dillons’ association with Ellison continued for over 50 years. Their latest creations included the artwork for his Nebula-winning short story “How Interesting: A Tiny Man” (Realms of Fantasy, February 2010).

Leo and Diane Dillon's art for Ellison's "How Interesting, A Tiny Man."

Pratchett Wins Wodehouse Award

Sir Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett’s novel Snuff, which sold more than 55,000 copies in the UK in its first three days, has won the 13th Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.

As part of his prize, a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig will be named after his novel.

You know, if they named it after the author, restaurants could offer a pork alternative to Sir Loin.

[Thanks to Ansible Links for the story.]

Stamped on Arrival?

Is this truly Elizabeth Moon, two-time nominee for the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus Award, arguing that everyone should be given a barcode at birth?

She told listeners to the “Future Wars” episode of BBC’s “The Forum”:

If I were empress of the Universe I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached – a barcode if you will; an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals.

It would be imprinted on everyone at birth. Point the scanner at someone and there it is.

Having such a unique barcode would have many advantages. In war soldiers could easily differentiate legitimate targets in a population from noncombatants.

This could prevent mistakes in identity, mistakes that result in the deaths of innocent bystanders. Weapons systems would record the code of the use, identifying how fired which shot and leading to more accountability in the field.

Anonymity would be impossible as would mistaken identity making it easier to place responsibility accurately, not only in war but also in non-combat situations far from the war.

So instead of a slap, doctors will be giving newborns a stamp on the bottom? That really will be something to cry about.

Click the link for audio of Moon’s “Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World” (available until June 18.)

Moon suggested her idea as part of a 45-minute BBC discussion about the way technology is reshaping warfare —

Robot spy planes as small as insects, drones that hover high overhead for days at a time, interfaces to plug a soldier’s mind directly into a weapons system and lasers that could temporarily blind you: some of this technology is still on the drawing board but some of it is already used on the battlefield.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

Gaiman and Mack Tattoo Design

Burton Olivier asked Neil Gaiman to write a comic to be tattooed on his back. Gaiman agreed if he could promote the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in the process. And he got David Mack, Olivier’s choice, to draw it.

A photo of Olivier’s tattoo is available at Robot 6.

And the CBDLF is offering a limited number of color prints of the illuminated poem.

The text of Gaiman’s poem reads:

I will write in words of fire. I will write them on your skin. I will write about desire. Write beginnings, write of sin. You’re the book I love the best, your skin only holds my truth, you will be a palimpsest lines of age rewriting youth. You will not burn upon the pyre. Or be buried on the shelf. You’re my letter to desire: And you’ll never read yourself. I will trace each word and comma As the final dusk descends, You’re my tale of dreams and drama, Let us find out how it ends.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

Chicon 7 Fixes Hugo Voter Packet

The full Hugo Voter Packet now is available – including previously missing samples for the Best Editor – Short Form, Best Semiprozine, Best Related Work, Best Graphic Story and Best Fanzine categories.

Helen Montgomery, Vice-Chair, attributed the delay to a “very large bug” which was resolved with a lot of hard work by the Chicon 7 tech team and their ISP. The problem caused a 10-day delay in making the missing material accessible, everything else in the packet having gone online by May 18.

Hertz: DUFF Voting Reminder

By John Hertz: Votes for a Down Under Fan Fund delegate will be accepted until midnight May 31 (i.e. before 12:01 a.m. 1 Jun) Pacific Daylight Time.

Thanks to those who already voted. Thanks to those who helped distribute ballots by hand and by paper mail.

You can get a ballot electronically here [PDF file].

The ballot explains DUFF, identifies this year’s candidates, and says how to vote by paper or electronic mail.

DUFF is supported by donations. Votes must be accompanied by a DUFF donation of at least $5 Australian, Canadian, United States, or $7 New Zealand. PayPal may be used with an E-mail vote.

I am the North America DUFF Administrator.
John Hertz
236 S. Coronado St., No. 409
Los Angeles, CA 90057  U.S.A.
Phone: (213) 384-6622

Dave Cake is the Australia – New Zealand Administrator.
David Cake
6 Florence Rd.
Nedlands, WA 6009  Australia
E-mail: dave (at) difference (dot) com (dot) au

Hell Freezes Over

This year’s fiction issue of The New Yorker is…

The Science Fiction Issue: Fiction by Jennifer Egan, Sam Lipsyte, Jonathan Lethem, and Junot Díaz; Anthony Burgess on “A Clockwork Orange”; Colson Whitehead on B-movies; and additional essays by Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, China Miéville, Margaret Atwood, Karen Russell, and William Gibson. Plus: Philip Gourevitch on Syria; James Surowiecki on Greece; Laura Miller on aliens in fiction; Emily Nussbaum on “Doctor Who” and “Community”; John Lahr on “February House” and “The Common Pursuit”; Alex Ross on Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau; Anthony Lane on “Moonrise Kingdom”; and more…

There’s even a clever video preview.

[Thanks to Moshe Feder for the story — and headline!]

Happy Birthday, Harlan Ellison

Celebrate the natal day of Harlan Ellison, born May 27, 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio. I wonder if his birthday cake has a discreet half dozen candles like mine does nowadays, or if he torches the cake with all the candles he’s entitled to?

Ryan Britt posted a highly readable tribute to Ellison in honor of his birthday at

But maybe you’re a newcomer to the world of SF and you’re not quite sure where Harlan Ellison fits in. Perhaps you’re more familiar with the reputation than the work. How should you approach the oeuvre of Ellison without being overwhelmed? Today, on his birthday, I’d like to give Ellison newcomers three different ways to approach his work, which will instantly help you to understand his importance, and probably turn you into a fan.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Monahan: Corflu Glitter
Sparkles at Sunset Station

Mark Plummer and Claire Brialey. Photo by Gary Mattingly.

By Jacq Monahan: From April 20-22, the fannish faithful flocked to Southern Nevada for the 29th annual Corflu gathering that’s all about fanzines and fen. Naturally, the close proximity to Las Vegas bestowed a fitting surname of Glitter upon this Corflu, nestled in the desert, but by no means “dry.”

Chaired by Joyce Katz, High Priestess of Fandom, Corflu Glitter featured a cast of dedicated con-spirators including THE Arnie Katz, James Taylor, Teresa Cochran Taylor, Andy Hooper, Ted White, Art Widner, Earl Kemp, Shelby Vick, Claire Brialey and official photographer Gary Mattingly, among others.

Starting off with a Vegrants Pre-Con Kick-off party on Thursday night, the relaxacon offered two consuites (on floors 4 and 6) that catered to both smoker and non-smoker. British and American accents mingled like smoke anyway, no matter where you ventured, but each suite was well-stocked with comestibles and libations to please any number of nations, in this case the U.S., the UK, and Canada.

Opening and closing ceremonies, all panels, a fan fund auction, the banquet and subsequent FAAN awards were held in the second floor Sunset Room, so Corflu Glitter basically took place on the lower even floors (2-4-6) of Sunset Station. Not that that’s odd or anything.

Friday featured a nature walk around part of Lake Mead (led by Ken Forman) panels on Fan Funds, Vegas Fandom Memories, and a Las Vegas Fandom Reunion which took place that evening, with erstwhile fans like Greg Dees and Paul Gardner popping up to surprise the crowd.

Saturday’s events included a fan fund auction to benefit Corflu, TAFF, DUFF, and Corflu 50. TAFF netted nearly $200 from the sale of an eclectic group of items like trip reports, a Spock liquor decanter and a plush dust mite. Yes, I said dust mite. Hey, equal time for vermin; they are the more intricate shapes to stuff, anyway. The little critter went for $5.

A Trufandom 2020 panel and a Conversation with Shelby Vick (Corflu 50 winner) led attendees right into the World Fan Trivia Championship (Sandra Bond and John D. Berry creators), before the place broke out into a New York Fandom Reunion Open Party. Yes, there was deli.

Nic Farey, along with his wife Bobbie, hosted a roomful of usual suspects that featured a phalanx of fans all wearing Beam T-shirts and looking as if they’d imbibed on the product (both liquid and literary). The 10th floor room was the site of a British Invasion that featured Mark Plummer on keyboards and Nic Farey on vocals. A video of this performance exists somewhere, its owner waiting for just the right time to request a “donation” NOT to release it to the public.

Sunday featured the brunch banquet (Chris Marble made off with a bag of bacon) and FAAN Awards in the Sunset Room, where Earl Kemp and Shelby Vick received Lifetime Achievement Awards. Dan Steffan, hosting Corflu XXX next year in Portland, provided the artwork. Previous winners (2010) were Ted White and Art Widner, both present, and both ageless. Robert Lichtman (attending virtually) and Art Widner (in the flesh) received Honorary Vegrant status, and the two are now allowed to leave dirty dishes in the Katz’s sink every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month.

Other FAAN awards went to Mark Plummer (Best Fan Writer) Steve Stiles (Best Fan Artist) Banana Wings (Best Genzine) A Meara for Observers (Best Perzine). The Harry Warner Jr. Memorial Award went to Robert Lichtman. Bill Burns has stopped counting his FAAN awards for Best Fan Website, but flew back to Long Island, NY toting yet another framed accolade. He’ll have to start nailing them to the floor soon; all available wall space has since been consumed.

The Corflu tee-shirt featured artwork by Ross Chamberlain and demand was so popular that the product nearly sold out, except for Small and Medium sizes. Who could wear those with such constant consuite cornucopias of sweet, salty and savory treats available? The same image adorned the Program and depicted a beanie-with-propeller-wearing fairy. Even California resident and virtual attendee Robert Lichtman e-mailed his admiration and desire for the tee.

On Sunday evening a Corflu Sunsplash reunion photo was taken with attendees filling up a room in the smoking consuite to reminisce about a much more humid Corflu that took place back in 1999. That’s so last century of them.

The Final Revel commenced at 7:00 Sunday evening and continued from the p.m. to the a.m., as attendees spent a last night together before returning to homes that ranged from a few miles away, to several thousand.

And so, all eyes turn from the parched desert and neon landscapes of Las Vegas to the rain-drenched greenery of the Pacific Northwest for Corflu XXX in Portland (2013). It will be the thirtieth time that the usual suspects have assembled, none of them showing any signs of settling down.

Corflu, after all, has always been the little convention that could, and did, and still does, literally speaking volumes (of fanzines) wherever it might land on the planet.

Photos by Gary Mattingly:

The Beam Group (front) Nic Farey, Bobbie Farey, Claire Brialey, Jay Kinney (back) Rob Jackson, Mark Plummer, Mike Meara. Photo by Gary Mattingly.

Joyce Katz, Corflu Glitter chair. Photo by Gary Mattingly.

Arnie Katz at the dais. Photo by Gary Mattingly.

Andy Hooper auctioning artwork. Photo by Gary Mattingly.

Art Widner with Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Gary Mattingly.

Earl Kemp with Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Gary Mattingly.

Fans at the Corflu Glitter banquet. Photo by Gary Mattingly.